Check out Anvil Centre's Winter Celebrations in New West

A winter labyrinth, a Festivus comedy show, a Solstice Pride Ball and non-stop free entertainment are all on offer as part of the Anvil Centre's Winter Celebrations from Dec. 18 to Jan. 5

A winter labyrinth, a Festivus comedy show, a Solstice Pride Ball and a whole host of free entertainment are coming to the Anvil Centre for its Winter Celebrations.

The centre is hosting its second annual Winter Celebrations, running from Dec. 18 to Jan. 5 (closed Dec. 24, 25 and Jan. 1). The celebrations feature a host of community performances and activities, plus 14 days of free entertainment by a wide range of professional artists, singers and musicians.

The official kick-off is on Thursday, Dec. 19, starting at 5:45 p.m., with acclaimed children’s entertainer Will’s Jams (Will Stroet) and the award-winning Canadian folk music group the Fugitives.

RupLoops brings interactive fun and vocal percussion to the stage. - contributed

Throughout the celebrations, there will be non-stop children’s activities, including dance, arts and crafts, storytelling, circus and juggling arts, art installations and musical performances. Among the kid-focused entertainers are RupLoops, an interactive performance using vocal percussion and eclectic instruments from around the globe (Dec. 28, 1 p.m.); and the Blues Berries, who share their love of the blues by taking on kid-friendly topics such as recycling and bullying (Jan. 4, 1 p.m.).

For audiences of all ages, there will be a wide assortment of free musical performances. You can enjoy gospel music by the Sojourners, Indian classical music and dance by Cassius Khan and Amika Kushwaha, Middle Eastern fusion music by guitarist Itamar Erez, a History of Motown show by Krystle Dos Santos, the holiday sounds of the Maple Leaf Singers show chorus, and a performance by lyric tenor Thomas Lamont with guitarist Anna Pietrzak – and a whole lot more. (See a list of entertainment highlights at the end of this story.)

lantern labyrinth, Winter Celebrations, Anvil Centre
The lantern labyrinth at last year's Winter Celebrations at Anvil Centre. - Record files

Plus, there will be a chance to enjoy more than a few laughs about the holiday season and all its pressures, thanks to Festivus for the New West of Us, a comedy show hosted by Janice Bannister of Laughter Zone 101. It’s on Friday, Dec. 20 at 10 p.m.

There’s also a Solstice Pride Ball on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 10:30 p.m., hosted by Peach Cobblah and featuring performances by Jaylene Tyme and Celestial Season, with music from DJ O Show.

Visitors to the Anvil Centre will also be able to find some seasonal calm by walking the lantern labyrinth.

Best of all? All of those performances and activities mentioned above are free.

The Winter Celebrations include one featured ticketed event: Patrick Street Productions’ musical stage adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life, which is onstage in the Anvil Centre Theatre for both matinee and evening performances. Tickets for the show start at $29; buy ahead through

Daily performances and activities will start at 3 p.m. on weekdays and at 10 a.m. on weekends.

The Anvil Centre is at 777 Columbia St. For selected highlights, see below. For a full schedule and all the details, see



Thursday, Dec. 19     

Daily performances and activities begin at 3 p.m.

5:45 8 p.m.: Kick-off celebrations

The Fugitives - renowned Canadian folk music group

Will’s Jams - Will Stroet of Will's Jams is a musician and educator of kids’ music, loved for his original rock, folk, and blues music.



Friday, Dec. 20

Daily performances and activities begin at 3 p.m.

6:45 p.m. Itamar Erez and Kevin Romain

Israeli-born, Vancouver-based Erez is a world-class guitarist, pianist, composer and educator whose music blends the delicateness of Middle Eastern music with  jazz and flamenco, creating a unique sound all his own, accompanied by drummer-composer Kevin Romain.


10 p.m. Festivus for the NewWest of Us

Join the fun at this Festivus gathering, featuring local comics, authors and other celebrities as they  “Air their Grievances” about the pressures of Christmas and its commercialism.


Saturday, Dec. 21

Daily performances and activities begin at 10 a.m.      

1 p.m. Maple Leaf Singers

As a show chorus, they do more than sing, they perform. Their dynamic show features a variety of music complemented by choreography in genres such as pop, gospel, swing, jazz, folk, classical, spiritual, rock, Broadway hits and more.


6:45 p.m. Darren Radke, Will Cournoyer-Clements and Daniel Green

Enjoy music by the trio of Will Cournoyer-Clements, a bilingual French-Canadian jazz vocalist; Daniel Green saxophonist-composer; and acoustic bass musician Darren Radke.


10:30 p.m. Solstice Pride Ball

Join drag queen Peach Cobblah for a wintry wonderland like you've never seen before, with performances by Jaylene Tyme and Celestial Seasons, and queer dance party love from DJ O Show.


Sunday, Dec. 22

Performances and activities begin at 10 a.m.  

11 a.m. The Kerplunks

The Kerplunks are Canadian children’s entertainers bringing high-energy, colourful performances to the stage. The Kerplunks play catchy, self-penned original tunes guaranteed to get kids engaged, singing along and joining in on the actions.


6:45 p.m. Anna Pietrzak and Thomas Lamont

Anna is a versatile guitarist and teacher who performs worldwide, joined by Thomas Lamont, a young upcoming lyric tenor from New Westminster.


Monday, Dec. 23
Daily performances and activities begin at 3 p.m.
4:30 to 5:15: Wazaman (Guitar Duo)
5:30 to 5:50 p.m.: Royal Canadian Theatre Co – Panto Pops
Thursday Dec. 26
Daily performances and activities begin at 3 p.m.
5:15 to 5:45 p.m.: Variety of Sound (Pop/Rock Band)

Friday, Dec. 27   

Daily performances and activities begin at 3 p.m.  

6:45 p.m. Fionn

Fionn’s Alanna and Brianne Finn-Morris, 19-year-old twins from White Rock, have been singing together for most of their lives, forging folk-pop sound.  Lyrics that deliver both sharp social commentary and poignantly personal reflections are backed by arrangements that range from lushly orchestrated balladry to boot-stomping roots-rock.


Saturday, Dec. 28   

Daily performances and activities begin at 10 a.m.  

1:00 p.m. RupLoops

RupLoops is a kid-friendly, interactive, live looping performance, using vocal percussion, rhythmic rhymes and an arsenal of eclectic instruments from around the globe.


4:30 p.m. Cassius Khan and Amika Kushwaha

This Queensborough couple is known for dazzling interpretations of Indian classical music and dance. Maestro Cassius Khan is a master of the tabla (North Indian drums), combining his drumming with the Indian classical styles of ghazal and thumri singing, with Amika Kushwaha performing kathak dance.


6:45 p.m. Halifax Wharf Rats

This Vancouver-based band offers up high-energy music, with a wide array of classic rock, Canadian folk classics from the likes of Neil Young, Stan Rogers and Gordon Lightfoot, plus songs of Atlantic Canada, and Irish and Scottish folk tunes.


Sunday, Dec. 29   

Daily performances and activities begin at 10 a.m.  

1 p.m.  A History of Motown – Krystle Dos Santos

Krystle Dos Santos and her three-piece band will take students back in time to the era of Motown music from the late 1950s to 1980s. Motown Records grew to be a music industry powerhouse featuring stars such as The Supremes, Stevie Wonder and a young Michael Jackson in the Jackson 5.  


5 p.m. The Sojourners

The three amazing voices of Marcus Mosely, Will Sanders and Khari McClelland give The Sojourners' sound an authentic edge that only comes with experience. This is real gospel, blessed with a soul that can't be faked.   


Monday, Dec. 30

Daily performances and activities begin at 3 p.m.
3:30 to 4 p.m.: Elizabeth Irving (vocal jazz)
4:30 to 4:40 p.m.: Kimberly Dioszeghy (circus/contortion)
5:30 to 5:40 p.m.: Kimberly Dioszeghy (circus/contortion)
Tuesday, Dec. 31
Daily performances and activities begin at 3 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 2
Daily performances and activities begin at 3 p.m.
3:30 to 3:40 p.m.: Winter Solstice (contemporary dance) – Jennifer Aoki and Silene Razo
4:30 to 5:15 p.m.: Will Clements Trio (jazz)
5:50 to 6 p.m.: Winter Solstice (contemporary dance) – Jennifer Aoki and Silene Razo
Friday, Jan. 3
Daily performances and activities begin at 3 p.m.
3:30 to 4 p.m.: Variety of Sound (pop/rock band)
4:15 to 4:25 p.m.: Danielle Fisher (circus/juggling)
5:15 to 5:25 p.m.: Danielle Fisher (circus/juggling)
8 to 9 p.m.: Cease Wyss – storytelling and tea
Saturday, Jan. 4

Daily performances and activities begin at 10 a.m.    

1 p.m. The Blues Berries

The Blues Berries perform throughout Canada, spreading their love for the blues to the younger generation. Their unique approach takes children’s topics such as learning the alphabet, recycling, and bullying and blends them with bluesy beats to create educational songs that every child can get down and boogie to.


6 p.m. Ceilidh with Blackthorn

Blackthorn features four talented musicians, three of whom share lead vocals, and all four contribute a mastery of a colourful variety of instruments. From lively jigs and reels, to songs with rousing choruses and heart-wrenching airs and ballads, they bring the music to life with their luscious harmonies and complex instrumentation.


Sunday, Jan. 5

Daily performances and activities begin at 10 a.m.  

4:30 to 6 p.m.  Family Dance Closing Party     




Dec. 19 – Jan. 5   

Featured Event: It’s a Wonderful Life

Enjoy the musical adaptation of the beloved holiday movie with a stellar cast and songs by the Gershwins, Kurt Weil, and more. Perfect for the whole family. Tickets are required for this event. Visit for info or buy through









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